Israel is the easiest target

What better way to deflect domestic criticism in the UK than to pander to swaths of bigoted voters by taking unjustified measures against the Jewish State?

March 25, 2010 02:44
4 minute read.
Israel is the easiest target

miliband. (photo credit: AP)


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The decision of the British government to expel an Israeli diplomat is just the latest in a spate of hypocritical, discriminatory actions the United Kingdom has implemented against Israel. However, such moves are not only grounded in a long-held British willingness to victimize Israel, but in a British government with no qualms about abusing its relationship with an ally to cover up its own failings.

How convenient that on Tuesday the BBC news service’s headline changed straight from “Labor suspends three ministers” to “Britain expels Israeli diplomat.”

Of course, this sudden change is more than just convenient – a contrived act on behalf of the British to use Israel as a smoke screen for its own problems. Even more worrying is the distinct possibility that Britain is simply following the US lead on how to divert domestic problems – by picking on Israel.

That this trend has been propagated by Israel’s supposedly greatest friend, the US, is truly disturbing and requires immediate action. It didn’t take President Barack Obama long to realize the best way of dealing with the embarrassment of seeing his foreign policy goals fall by the wayside was to focus on Israel. While in Egypt there has not been so much as a sniff of democracy since Obama’s “historic” speech in Cairo, and Guantanamo Bay looks less likely to close than a McDonald’s during rush hour, Obama is guaranteed a plethora of great international headlines by manipulating a friendly nation, and dangling the prevention of Iran’s nuclear program – undoubtedly an existential threat – in front of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The gross hypocrisy of the British is as baffling as it is disgraceful; after all, the British response to terrorism has been to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which, however justifiable, were both immensely costly in term of civilian casualties.

Naturally, the mere suggestion of the UK being castigated like Israel in the UN Human Rights Council, despite widespread allegations of torture and various war crimes, is laughable, never mind the idea of British leaders being prevented from fulfilling their duties under laws of universal jurisdiction.

REGARDLESS OF whether Israel was involved in the Dubai assassination or not, the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was an exercise in what Britain has proven inept at doing itself – taking care of a dangerous terrorist with the loss of no civilians whatsoever.

The question begged is why, when thousands of refugees are purposefully displaced in Sri Lanka, human rights are consistently clamped down on in China and more than half of the world’s population fail to have their right to democratic leadership realized, is Britain picking on Israel for a crime it hasn’t even been convicted of?

The answer is simple. Israel is by far the easiest target, guaranteed to captivate the media and win over a public salivating at the thought of seeing it strung up. What better way to deflect domestic criticism than to pander to swaths of bigoted voters by launching unjustified measures against the Jewish state?

As Gilad Schalit languishes in Gaza in contravention of the Third Geneva Convention, Britain can be counted on to do the bare minimum to secure his release, while accusing Israel of being the nation showing a disregard for the two countries’ diplomatic relationship. It is, rather, the British, unable to prevent their own legal system being abused for racist endeavors, who should be red-faced over the recent breakdown of relations.

The wording of Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s announcement to Parliament on the decision to expel the Israeli diplomat was grounded in irony. Why Miliband feels in a position to talk of the “intolerable” way in which a “friend” operates is deeply questionable. Britain is in no place to be preaching morality, never mind to a free, democratic nation.

British Jewry, in its muted action, has goaded the willingness of the British government to stab Israel in the back. We are undoubtedly in a situation where the British government has no fear of provoking the pro-Israel and Jewish population into meaningful action, rendering Israel by far the easiest target when finding a scapegoat to cover up domestic misgivings. This must be the wake-up call.

While the British Jewish leadership was happy to let the disgraceful universal jurisdiction fiasco get sorted out behind closed doors, this expulsion is a step too far. The expulsion of an Israeli diplomat is grounded in discrimination and bias. Britain would not take such measures against any other state, even those hostile to the UK.

This is not just an attack on the State of Israel but on Britain’s own Jewish population. If British Jewry does not now stand up and be counted, then when?

The writer has been a frequent observer of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and is now based in the United Kingdom.

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